Feeds

Facebook homes in on world of Google

'Let me be your homepage. In so very many ways'

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Facebook is testing a new tool that encourages users to set the social networking site as their browser homepage. It's hardly an unusual move. But at a time when the company is rolling out its own email service and resisting efforts to loosen its grip on user data, the move serves as an apt metaphor for Facebook's sweeping ambition.

It wants to be your home for, well, everything – displacing and even surpassing the web's reigning home: Google.

As noticed by Venturebeat and others, at least some Facebookers now see a "Make Facebook Home" button when they visit the social networking site. "See what's happening with Stephanie, Kim, and the rest of your friends the moment you open your browser," one user was told by Zuckerberg and company.

Asked to comment, Facebook did not immediately respond. But it's only natural that the company would seek to step where Google has so much power.

VentureBeat says it "can’t imagine people seeing [Facebook] as beneficial as Google and it’s [sic] powerful search capabilities." But it's quite easy to imagine. New media pundit Brain Solis just imagined it. And he says he's imagined it for years.

"The future of search is social...We can’t underestimate Facebook search," he says. "Google has long dominated search and the behemoth of a company is showing its age and its weaknesses. Even though Google is experimenting with integrating social into traditional search results, its algorithm is in dire need of a human touch — a human algorithm.

"At the same time, Facebook is slowly but surely improving its search feature. What used to simply display results within the network, now starts to feature results from around the Web where the displayed list is curated by the actions of your friends — as part of the platform. This will only improve and become more substantial in the coming months."

And search is just one tool Facebook hopes to reinvent atop its site. "Most industries are going to be rethought to be social and designed around people," Mark Zuckerberg said last week. "This is the whole evolution we've seen at Facebook." Some of this, he said, will come from third parties — Facebook is also a development platform — and some will come from Facebook itself. Some will happen on Facebook, and in other cases, Facebook will exert its influence on third-party sites, through its Facebook Connect set-up.

What's more, Facebook has introduced its own email service, attempting to move all communication into its walled garden. At the press event announcing the new service, Facebook repeatedly said it was not an email service. But, quite obviously, it is. It offers users their own @facebook.com email addresses, and it will process and store your email messages. "If it looks like a duck and smells like and duck and quacks like a duck..." says Pat Matthews, senior vice president of Rackspace's cloud computing business and the man who oversees the company's email services.

As Solis points out, Facebook is working not only to move people from Google search to Facebook search but from Gmail to Facebook Messaging. He also sees Zuckerberg and company pushing for a switch from Google Voice to Facebook with Skype, from Google Latitude to Facebook Places, from Google Docs to Facebook with Microsoft Office. And clearly they are.

We might add that Google Voice, Google Latitude, and Google Places are relatively new services. With these services, there are relatively few people to switch. Facebook is looking to beat Google at its own game — and then some. "Zuckerberg’s ultimate goal is to create, and dominate, a different kind of Internet," reads this summer's New Yorker profile of Mark Zuckerberg. "[He] was in middle school when Google launched, and he seems to have a deep desire to build something that moves beyond it." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.